Image via iStock.
It started off innocently enough. Whenever I was deep in thought, my hands would absentmindedly reach up to my eyebrows and start picking at them.
Pick, pick – a simple, repetitive motion that felt instantly satisfying.
I thought nothing of it. Then it started happening more often – and totally subconsciously. Whenever I was feeling nervous or even just bored, my hands would find their way up to my eyebrows and just pick.
Being 12-years-old, I didn’t pay much attention to my eyebrows (save for one bad attempt at shaving the middle – another story) so I didn’t really notice what was happening. Sure, they looked a little more sparse than normal, but no big deal, right?
I must have been feeling very nervous or bored this particular day, because as soon as I walked through the door, Mum looked up and said "What ON EARTH have you done!?"
I ran to the mirror, and for the first time saw the full effect of my (not so) handiwork.
It went a little something like this.
Except it wasn't even symmetrical - just one side. My poor, poor right eyebrow. Luckily, after seeing the horrific results (and spending the next few months with a strategically placed side fringe) I quickly learnt to shake the habit.
(Although, between you and I, I've found myself doing it twice while writing this article... nooo!)
For others, it can be much, much more serious.
Mackensie Freeman was in just fifth grade when she started yanking out her eyebrow hairs with her fingers.
"I was so obsessed with the feeling that the lesser hair, the better," the now 16-year-old told Cosmopolitan. "So I just kept pulling and pulling."
When it went past the point of point of cosmetic improvement, her parents became concerned.
Googling the symptoms, they stumbled upon a condition no-one had heard of before - trichotillomania, also known as 'trich'.
A psychological condition that drives sufferers to pull out their own hair from their scalp, face, chest and legs leaving noticeable bald patches. In severe cases, the urge can be so intense that it impairs concentration, disrupts normal functioning and triggers a vicious of pleasure and shame.